Blessed with a Second Son
In 1942, at the age of 41, Marie Herpich Minnes gave birth to a second son, Edward F. Minnes (1942-1985). After the lost of her first child, George Minnes, in 1939, the story goes that Marie felt God blessed her with a second son so late in life.
I love this picture of my Uncle Eddie; it is classic 1950′s as he sports his Howdy Doody look. When I look at photos of Eddie, taken during the years before his own mother’s early death in 1962, he was always so full of life; a very happy boy. As a child, I spent a lot of time with my uncle; during the time we all lived together in that little white house with pink shutters in Florida, after my grandmother died.
During those years in Florida, my uncle Eddie’s room was totally off-limits to my brother and me. I believe the threat was a good one, because I have no recollection of every being in his room. However, my uncle Eddie was an avid builder of model airplanes, and my brother and I could not help ourselves, and would occasional crack the door open to his room to gaze at all the airplanes hanging from the ceiling. Fear of getting caught would pulse through my body, and how we contained ourselves from going in and playing with the planes is beyond me.
This is an image of the Red Baron. It was my uncle Eddie’s favorite character to place in his model airplanes. This piece would start as a plain, tan piece of plastic that my uncle would paint. I love how he added an “M” for Minnes to his scarf. But the real story behind this bust of the Red Barron, is how it came to be in my possession.
My parents eventually moved back to Chicago in 1967; my mother never grew content with Florida, and wanted to get back home to Chicago to be with her sister, and all the other members of her family. My uncle Eddie, however, never returned to Chicago. With his son in Florida, and two daughters in Chicago, my grandfather, Fred, would split the year living between both states. When my grandfather Fred passed away in 1979, it left Eddie without any family close by. Sadly, as seemed to be the fate of so many Minnes’ of the last couple generations, Eddie died suddenly at the young age of 43.
At the time of Eddie’s death, I had in-laws living in Florida, so I was asked by my mother and aunt to go down to document a few possessions, including the contents of a storage shed. Since my uncle left no will, and his estate still in limbo, my visit was only to look in the shed, and make note of the contents. As I was walking through dozens of neatly packed boxes, I noticed a piece of plastic on the floor. When I went to pick it up, it was this Red Baron. A small gift from Uncle Eddie; I quietly placed it in my pocket, and was able to take a piece of Eddie home with me: it is one of my treasured possessions – a family heirloom.
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